It was a smooth flight from freshman starter to sophomore standout and early University of Florida commit in the first two seasons of John Mooney's high-school basketball career.

But the Lake Brantley big man, who agreed to a scholarship offer from Gators coach Billy Donovan before beginning his 10th-grade season, hit turbulence before taking off this year. Mooney underwent a summer appendectomy, was sidelined by mononucleosis as school started, and then suffered an ankle sprain that knocked him out of the first five games of the season.


"It was tough," Mooney said of the traumatic tripleheader.

So is he.

The 6-foot-9 forward scored 29 points and grabbed 13 rebounds on Saturday as unranked Lake Brantley (12-4) won 81-70 over Sentinel Super 16 No. 12 Lake Highland Prep (12-6) in the opening game of the Showdown at O-Town at Orlando Christian Prep.

"I'm 100 percent and the team is playing great," Mooney said. "It's been all team wins lately."

Teammates were looking for Mooney against a Highlanders team short on size. He hit on strong drives and soft touch shots, and knocked down a 3-pointer as part of a 17-2 Brantley run that broke the game open.

"John knew we were going to him and he had to work," said Patriots coach Mike Cuff. "This was a big win for us. I told the guys we're tough in Seminole County, we want to be tough in Central Florida."

Three powers that were up-and-down in December — OCP, Dr. Phillips and Windermere Prep — elevated their games in impressive victories.

Host OCP (11-7), which toppled No. 1 6A Lake Minneola on Thursday, stayed hot with a 64-60 win vs. Kissimmee Osceola (16-3). Josh Raoul scored 26 points in the victory.

Dr. Phillips (10-7) derailed an 11-game winning streak by First Academy (16-3) by beating the Royals 69-55. David Stephen, Chaundee Brown and Jonathan Laurent combined for 58 points.

Windermere Prep (10-7) pulled out a 69-66 win against. Oviedo (14-4) thanks to a do-it-all effort by 6-4 senior Isaiah Curry (20 points, 15 rebounds).

"On the big stage, that was his best game," Lakers coach Ben Wilson said.

No. 7 2A Faith Christian (13-3) beat Class 8A Winter Park 56-44 with seniors Julian Pina and Jeff Huff combining for 39 Lions points.

"We knew we had to do it defensively," Lions coach Tony Medina said.

Lake Minneola (14-3) routed Daytona Beach Father Lopez 82-46 as twins Avery and Anthony Brown combined for 34 points and Marcus Dodson dealt seven assists.


Here are the summaries for all six games:

Lake Brantley 81, Lake Highland Prep 70

Buzz: John Mooney had 29 points and 13 rebounds and Jordan Bates added 23 points to lead Lake Brantley (12-4). Freshmen Nick Honor and Jose Placer scored 25 and 22 points, respectively, for Lake Highland (12-6). Jaren Lewis added 13 in the loss.

Lake Minneola 82, Daytona Beach Father Lopez 46

Buzz: Twin brothers Avery and Anthony Brown scored 20 and 14 points, respectively, for the Hawks (14-3). Marcus Dodson added 11 and 7 assists in the win. Malik Maitland scored 19 and Richard Perez 11 for Lopez (10-9).

Faith Christian 56, Winter Park 44

Buzz: Julian Pina scored 20 points and Jeff Huff posted 19 for Faith (13-3). Elijah Farley scored 12 and Austin Goodluck 11 for the Wildcats (13-6).

Windermere Prep 69, Oviedo 66

Buzz: Isaiah Curry had 20 points and 15 rebounds for Windmere Prep (10-7). Michael Stones added 16 points and Parker Davis 15. Matt Milon scored 21 and Qua Harper 15 for Oviedo (14-4).

Orlando Christian Prep 64, Kissimmee Osceola 60

Buzz: Josh Raoul scored 26 points and Robert Aviles 14 for OCP (11-7). Tevin Florent had 16, Will Vidot 13 and  Cortez Edwards 12 for Osceola (16-3).

Dr. Phillips 69, First Academy 55

Buzz: David Stephen scored 22 points, Chaundee Brown 19 and Jonathan Laurent 18 for DP (10-7). Gerrell Dickson had 18 points, 9 rebounds and 7 blocked shots for TFA (16-3). Fletcher Magee added 15 points for the Royals.